Believing Thomas – 2nd Sunday of Easter

Written by Joel on April 14th, 2010

April 11, 2010
2nd Sunday of Easter
John 20:19-31

Notes:

Did you know that some people still don’t believe in that the moon landing actually happened? They say its a hoax. Moon landing deniers will say that the technology simply didn’t exist, that the campaign was part of American pride in being the first to win the space race, or perhaps a distraction from the United States involvement in Vietnam. There are countless photos, videos, and even moon rocks and yet faced with all this evidence deniers still exist. They say its faked. Our Gospel today tells us the story of another kind of denial. We common call him “Doubting Thomas.”

We are reminded at the beginning of this text that it takes place on Easter, or rather Easter evening. Surely the disciples had heard the news by now that Jesus’ tomb was empty, witnessed by Peter and John. They had also heard the eye witness report from Mary that she had seen the Lord – but so far she was the only one with that privilege. The disciples, even the two who went to the tomb, had not yet seen the Lord with their own two eyes. But now, in the evening they receive the same blessing Mary received earlier that day in the garden. They heard the reports with their ears, but they required something more.

Before they saw him they heard his voice, just as Mary first heard him call her name before she knew it was Christ. “Peace be with you.” They were so caught off guard that they did not reply. He showed him them his wounds. They saw and believed. For them seeing is believing. But there was one disciple who was not with them – Thomas. We are not told where he was or why he wasn’t with the others.

Upon hearing the news Thomas declares his unbelief saying “There is no way I will believe unless I see it for myself.” From there we most commonly remember him as doubting Thomas, even though the text never gives him this title, instead we are told he is simply called “The Twin.” The other disciples upon hearing of Thomas’ unbelief did not cast him out of the community or tell him he could longer be a disciple. He stayed with them.

A whole week went by, the week following Easter. Which brings us to today – the second Sunday of Easter until Jesus returns to present himself to Thomas, who we know of as the doubter. Jesus replays his appears to the disciples from the week before. “Peace be with you” he says again. Again, he shows his wounds to Thomas who was not there.

For Thomas, faith wasn’t something he did not have then he did have – it was something that he discovered. Something he discovered directly from the hands (literally) of Christ. Jesus gave Thomas just what he needed in order to believe – but in his own good time of course.

Thomas went only a week between hearing the good news and believing in the good news. Thats a pretty good deal if you ask me, I know of people who have gone years or sometimes not ever coming to that confession of faith.

This scripture speaks to us the reader. It tells us “blessed are those who have not seen and yet come to believe.” Blessed are we, right here and right now who have not seen and yet come to believe. Blessed are you have not seen and are on your journey to believe. Blessed are you who are discovering your faith like Thomas, the one who believed.


 

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